As the parent of a high school junior, I feel like the unluckiest college saver. I’m close to tuition bills coming, which is not a good time for our portfolio balance to be down 17.5% since last year — even in an age-based investment fund that’s pretty conservative by now. To boot, this is something of a double-whammy, because I started saving in 2007 and the account took a beating right off the bat with the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Early losses and late losses are hard on investment accounts, but with college on a fixed timeline, it’s hard to get around when the bills are due. We’re starting college visits and I’m just a year or so away from having to put down a deposit. In the meantime, both U.S. stocks
are down, and there’s no known timeline for economic recovery. So what is the best way to maximize my savings, starting now? I talked to some experts to see what parents like me should do. Get more conservative While families saving for high school juniors don’t have college bills just yet, it’s time to start the goal-line offense, especially if your funds are in equities. Things could get better before that first tuition bill is due, or by the time today’s high schoolers graduate from college — or not. Your instincts might tell you to leave the money in the market in case it bounces back, but this isn’t what experts advise for the portion of the money you need soonest. Your best strategy could be to lock in some losses, especially if you currently have a high school senior at home. “For August tuition next year, I say let’s get that into cash and set it aside,” says Kyle McBrien, a financial planne …